Conditions held up for an exciting day of ASP Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) Finals action at the Whalebone Classic, with two-to-three foot (1 metre) clean peelers on offer at Iso's Reef, Cottesloe, Perth. Both men's and women's Finals saw East Coast versus West Coast matchups. The tally ended with one win apiece, as Georgia Young (WA/AUS) and Heith Norrish (NSW/AUS) reigned supreme.
Norrish defeated good friend and WA local surfer Justin Redman in a tight battle that finished with scores of 17.00 to 16.60. Redman was the most consistent in the Final, posting a pair of 8-point rides for an early lead. In the dying minutes, Norrish found a great wave and executed technical noserides to earn the single highest wave score of the event, a 9.25. The score let him steal the win and move to No. 1 on the ASP Australasia LQS rankings.
"I didn't know that I had won until after I hit the beach," said Norrish, "Justin (Redman) surfed really well and I thought he had actually won it. They were great waves, so smooth and the judges really liked the more traditional style of surfing out there, which suited me."
The women's Final was also a closely contested heat, with Cottesloe local Georgia Young (WA/AUS) claiming the win by just 1 point over Erin Dark (NSW/AUS). Much like the men's final, the lead changed in the last two minutes of the face-off, when Young snared a wave and mixed noserides and powerful turns to post a 7.60. The eleventh-hour score sealed her fifth Whalebone Classic title (LQS 2011, 2012 and U18 2006, 2007).
"We had really good waves again for the Final which was nice," Young said. "I was so nervous because there was a bit of a wait in between sets and it was hard to be patient and wait for the good ones.
"In the end Erin (Dark) needed a score to move into first and she got it, then I was able to improve on my scores just after that. We had a final in Avalon a few weeks ago, it hurts to lose in your home state, so it was good to get her back today. Erin was surfing great! She was the one to beat. We've got the ASP World Longboard Championships in a few months and this win gives me confidence in my surfing leading into that event."
More information is at www.whaleboneclassic.com.au